The digital transformation provides developing economies new opportunities to leapfrog industrial age infrastructure, to draw on the vast knowledge spillovers from the internet, to take advantage of new markets offered by digital platforms and to exploit production possibilities enabled by digital technologies. It also increases the distance to the technological frontier as leading-edge countries race forward, creates new competitive challenges in capturing production mandates in tasks that can be automated and poses daunting new governance challenges. Developing countries can leverage the valuable data they generate, given their population size, rapid adoption of mobile technology and digital procurement potential, to improve the bargains they strike with advanced country suppliers and platforms and in trade negotiations.

  • Dan Ciuriak is a CIGI senior fellow. Dan is exploring the interface between Canada’s domestic innovation and international trade and investment, including the development of better metrics to assess the impact of Canada’s trade agreements on innovation outcomes.

  • Maria Ptashkina is an economics Ph.D. candidate at University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. Her current research is focused on firm dynamics and uncertainty in international trade.